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Berkshire Senior. Centenarian carpenter continues his craft. Meals on Wheels south county packing site moves to community center.

Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc. Promoting Elder Independence since 1974 Non-Profi t Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit No. 115 Pittsfi eld, MA Berkshire Senior Volume 21, Number 2 February, 2006
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Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc. Promoting Elder Independence since 1974 Non-Profi t Org. U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit No. 115 Pittsfi eld, MA Berkshire Senior Volume 21, Number 2 February, 2006 The monthly newspaper for Berkshire County seniors Free Roger Suters Bob Norris, Chairman and President of the Berkshire South Regional Community Center Board of Trustees, extends a warm welcome to Mary Martin (left), Meals on Wheels Packing Site Director, and Delores Faivre, Elder Services Nutrition Volunteer. Meals on Wheels south county packing site moves to community center Elder Services delivers over 800 hot, nutritious noon-time meals each weekday to homebound elders throughout Berkshire County. The hot food is prepared at Elder Services Lanesboro kitchen, and portioned into individual meal containers, which are microwavable and oven-safe. Many of the meals remain at the Lanesboro kitchen for distribution, while approximately 450 are brought to the two regional packing sites, one at the Spitzer Center in North Adams, and one in South What's Inside Elder Services Update..2 County. The Meals on Wheels drivers for each of the three areas then pick up the meals for their delivery routes and bring them directly to homebound elders. Larger portions of food are transported to the 15 congregate dining sites, usually located at senior centers and Councils on Aging throughout the county. Last month, the packing site for South County relocated to the Berkshire South Regional Community Center at Crissey Road in CENTER contid on 10 Gordon MacKinnon is very proud of his woodworking shop. Centenarian carpenter continues his craft Most people today see the world with all the glory of technology, but what of the world before modern marvels? There are those who remember a simpler way of life. We are fortunate when they share those stories of a time when having money and using technology were not the norm. One such person is Gordon MacKinnon. MacKinnon turns 100 years old this month and enjoys the Meals on Wheels he has been receiving for the past two years. One of his hobbies is constructing lawn furniture. No patterns are used, only the dimensions By Linda LeRoux Roger Suters etched in his mind. Thinking back, he remembers always tinkering with wood. Years ago there was no money. We bought something and used it as a copy to make our own furniture. Reflecting with a proud smile he explains, Nobody really taught me. If you really wanted something back then you had to make it. In his youth he made things such as skis and toboggans. In his adult years, MacKinnon worked at Jones Beloit Company Retirement planning, what do you want and need? By Simone Gaunt and Margie Ware CENTENARIAN cont'd on 5 Opinion...3 COA Spotlight...4 Our Community...5 Healthy Heart Elder Services...10 SHINE...11 Caregiving...12 Your Dollars...14 For Your Health...15 American Healthy Heart Month See pages 6-9 Many factors go into making the decision when to retire. Young people may plan to retire at age 55, but little do they know what the future holds. An early retirement may be possible for those fortunate enough to have worked all of their lives, who were able save money in a pension fund, annuity, IRA, or investment account. Some companies offer incentives for individuals to accept an early retirement plan. And then there are the rest of us. Not all of retirement planning is financial. An individual needs to think about his or her attitude toward work, leisure, risk, and reward. Some people need to be busy, others need structure imposed on their lives or they vegetate, and for some retirement means finally tackling extensive to do lists. Making the retirement decision Decide what age you want to retire and whether you will have RETIRE cont'd on 14 Elder Services Update Elder Services Executive Director Baby boomer update: First boomers turn 60 By Robert P. Dean The baby boomer generation is comprised of the 75 million individuals born in the United States between 1946 and This year, the oldest baby boomers begin to turn 60. The size of the boomer generation has caused an expansion of services and a reallocation of resources with each successive milestone from birth to adulthood. The boomer generation, with its increased life expectancy, will undoubtedly have a significant impact on aging services as boomers become senior citizens. Although it may be a few years before we see a significant boomer need for in-home and community based services - currently 70% of Berkshire elders who receive services from our home care and Meals on Wheels programs are age 75 or older - boomers have already begun to impact the aging network. For example, during the last decade, as more boomers have become caregivers to elder parents, we have seen an increased recognition of the needs of caregivers and care receivers. A 2004 caregiver survey conducted by the National Alliance for Caregivers and AARP, found that 18.5 million US households are involved in the care of a relative or friend age 50 or older, and the average caregiver age is 46. Many boomers are also part of the so-called sandwich Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc. Berkshire Senior Editor and Production: Karen Shreefter Editorial Board: Bea Cowlin, Angela Fields, Robert P. Dean, Simone Gaunt, Beth Hinkley, Judy Katz, Lisa Lungo, and Roger Suters Advertising Sales: Bob O'Connor or Berkshire Senior is published monthly by Elder Services of Berkshire County, Inc., 66 Wendell Avenue, Pittsfield, MA 01201, or , or on the internet at: DEADLINE Berkshire Senior welcomes Letters to the Editor. Please include your name and address; names are withheld upon request. Deadline is NOON, the FIRST FRIDAY of the month. Send or bring materials to: Berkshire Senior, 66 Wendell Ave., Pittsfi eld, MA NOTICE Elder Services sells advertising to defray costs. Inclusion of advertisers in no way implies that Elder Services endorses any product or service. Signed columns are the opinion of the writers and not necessarily the opinion of Elder Services. For medical, fi nancial or other advice, seek a qualifi ed professional in the appropriate fi eld. Elder Services and its programs are funded, in part, by the Massachusetts Executive Offi ce of Elder Affairs. State and federal funds provided to Elder Services are limited. Elder Services welcomes charitable donations to help meet the growing needs of Berkshire elders, and gratefully acknowledges all donations. generation, which means that they are providing care to their children and adult parents at the same time. According to a November 2005 MassInc report entitled A Generation in Transition: A Survey of Baby Boomers, 11% of Massachusetts boomers are currently caring for both their children and parents at the same time. In the future 17% expect to be caring for both. (The MassInc report states that 32% of Massachusetts boomers who have at least one living parent indicate that the parent is either dependent on them financially or for personal care, while 81% of boomers currently have children who are dependent on them.) The sandwich generation phenomena is partially a result of the increased longevity of today s older Americans. During the last century the average American lifespan almost doubled. In 2000, the average life expectancy was projected to be 74 years for a man and 80 years for a woman, as compared to 1900 when it was 46 years for a man and 48 years for a woman. As boomers age, their own increased longevity may cause them to become the care receivers of their own adult children. Elder Services serves many boomers in their roles as adult children who are caregivers to elder parents or other elder relatives, providing them with information, education, and support, in addition to providing their elder parent or relative, when eligible, with such in-home services as personal care (such as dressing, bathing, and bathroom assistance) and homemaking (such as laundry and cleaning). Many older boomers, who are grandparents, may also be raising grandchildren, which is another phenomenon that has become more prevalent in recent years. In addition to their caregiver responsibilities, boomers must also meet their financial obligations. According to the 2005 MassInc report referenced above, 79% of Massachusetts baby boomers are working. Nearly half of all Massachusetts baby boomers expect to retire later than age 65, and 65% expect to continue to work part-time after they retire. Alarmingly, almost 40% of those who plan to work after they retire will work out of financial necessity. This may be due to the fact that 36% of Massachusetts baby boomers currently rank their personal finances as fair to poor, and 25% say they have taken on more debt than they can handle. Meanwhile, the Commonwealth is considering the expansion of selected Mass Health programs to allow some relatives, including adult children - but excluding spouses - to receive some financial compensation for some of the direct care services they provide to elder relatives. These changes could provide some welcome financial relief to the caregivers who might be eligible. In the meantime, how well baby boomers are able to balance their caregiver and financial responsibilities, particularly as they themselves approach retirement age will have a significant impact on their quality of life as they look to their own retirement years. Editor's Note: See related article on Retirement Planning on page one. For more information on Caregiver Services and supports contact Elder Services at or Berkshire Senior TV Berkshire Senior TV produces half hour programs on topics of special interest to seniors and their families. February programs: Earth Angels Tax Aide Social Security & Retirement Will be shown on the following stations: Pittsfield Community Television (Channel 16) Mondays, 9:30 a.m., Fridays, 12:30, 5, 7 & 10 p.m. Northern Berkshire Community Television (Channel 15) Fridays, 8:30 p.m. Community Television for the Southern Berkshires (Channel 15) Check the weekly listing at WilliNet (Channel 17) Thursday, 3 p.m. & Sunday, 6 p.m. Page 2 Elder Services' Berkshire Senior February, 2006 Opinion Helping seniors live in their own homes with dignity and independence By Sen. John F. Kerry I want to share some thoughts on making sure you can look forward to enjoying time with family and friends in your own home for years to come. I know that rising health care costs, specifically the new Medicare prescription drug law, are foremost on your minds. I believe seniors deserve a comprehensive, affordable, guaranteed prescription drug benefit. However, the new Medicare prescription drug law fails to deliver on that promise. With the recent attempt to implement Medicare Part D, everyone from seniors to pharmacists has been subjected to; misinformation, confusion and a lack of answers from Medicare and especially from insurance companies. Our seniors deserve better, much better. I will continue to support legislation that strengthens and improves Medicare rather than undermines it; one that won t force seniors into HMOs, and will ultimately guarantee affordable, accessible, and comprehensive drug coverage. Rest assured, I will continue to fight for a comprehensive prescription drug program that offers real prescription coverage for seniors, and not one that just benefits insurance and pharmaceutical companies. On another front, Massachusetts residents are battling the significant increase costs to heat their homes. In response to the home heating crisis, I have been working with my colleagues to provide an additional $3.1 billion for LIHEAP. That $3.1 billion in emergency funding coupled with the President s budget request of $2 billion would bring LIHEAP funding to its fully-authorized level. Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services announced $4,656,507 of LIHEAP funding for the residents of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. I, along with my colleagues in the Massachusetts delegation will continue to fight to secure this critical funding. In advocating for your independence in the Senate, I will continue to garner support to enhance the current infrastructure for providing home and community-based services. Home and community-based services that assist seniors with activities of daily living, such as personal care, meal preparation, and taking medicine, are critical. For instance, the Older Americans Act has been an indispensable source of support for millions of older Americans, who wish to maintain their independence. Creating a more coherent system of easily accessible community services, while making Medicaid more flexible to cover home and communitybased services, is essential to support the goal of independent living and to providing all of you the ability to live safely and comfortably in your own home. I am proud to fight for these important goals in the upcoming year. John F. Kerry is a U.S. Senator from Massachusetts. February, 2006 Elder Services' Berkshire Senior Page 3 COA Spotlight On Elder Services' website at in the Elder Alert section one can advocate for elders by sending s to state legislators. Simply click on their addresses in the Elder Alert section. Beth Hinkley Lanesboro Council on Aging Director Debra Decelles responds to inquiries from the seniors in her town and also plans programs and events. Meet Lanesboro COA Director Debra Decelles By Beth Hinkley Although Lanesboro Council on Aging (COA) Director Debra Decelles only began her part-time position in July, town seniors are already benefiting from her expertise and energy. I love my job, and it s gratifying seeing seniors attend events, beamed Decelles at the COA located in the Lanesboro Town Hall. One of my goals is to increase participation in the Council through a monthly newsletter to inform the seniors of activities and events. Several seniors new to COA-sponsored programs attended a recent play and noontime dinner served by fifth and sixth graders at Lanesboro Elementary School. Decelles plans to build on the success of this event with further collaborations with the school, which will be a boon to both the children and the seniors. Decelles said she enjoys strengthening connections with Lanesboro seniors and discovering how to address the needs they have expressed. The Lanesboro COA provides van service, health and wellness clinics, and serves Elder Services hot lunches Tuesdays and Thursdays. Decelles may be new in her position, but she is a familiar face to many Lanesboro residents. She serves as co-chair of the Recreation Department, is a volunteer firefighter and EMT, and is clerk for the Ambulance Enterprise. Decelles and her husband, Lanesboro Highway Superintendent William, are the proud parents of three sons and have one grandson. For more about the Lanesboro Council on Aging, call Decelles can be reached Monday through Thursday mornings. Beth Hinkley is Elder Services Planning and Development Specialist. She works with Area Agency on Aging community programs. Housing Questions Call Elder Services or Page 4 Elder Services' Berkshire Senior February, 2006 Our Community Upcoming Shows Please join us in enjoying an Earth Angels show next month. Their shows often sell out! All ticket sales support non-profi t agencies, including Elder Services. Date Venue Location March 2... Lee High School...Lee March 3... Lee High School...Lee March 4... Lee High School...Lee March Mt. Everett Regional High School...Sheffi eld March Mt. Everett Regional High School...Sheffi eld March Hoosac Valley Regional High School...Cheshire March Hoosac Valley Regional High School...Cheshire March Taconic Hills Central School...Craryville, NY March Taconic Hills Central School...Craryville, NY All shows start at 7:25 p.m. Tickets for all performances are $12. Tickets on sale now at the following locations: Business Location Harland B. Foster... Great Barrington Fraser Auto... Lee H.A. George Fuel... North Adams HospiceCare... Pittsfi eld Elder Services... Pittsfi eld Val's Variety... Adams Adams Police Department... Adams Cheshire Police Department... Cheshire Sheffi eld Police Department... Sheffi eld CENTENARIAN cont'd from 1 repairing machinery, and though he did not serve in World War II, his work was an important asset since it was imperative that all machinery functioned and was maintained properly. Throughout his career, MacKinnon was sent to set up new mills in many regions of the U.S. and Canada. With a small chuckle he notes, I m not trying to brag or anything, but I was always asked for. When returning home from trips, he always brought a large stone. In 1960, he built a stone fireplace in his backyard using all the stones. It was probably the largest project he had undertaken due to his work schedule. When MacKinnon retired, he went back to his love of woodworking. He made outdoor furniture for friends, which he placed in the front yard for them to pickup. Many passersby stopped to see if the beautifully-crafted furniture was for sale, which gave MacKinnon a sense of pride. As MacKinnon s eyesight began to diminish, he knew it was a matter of time until he would lose his ability to read measurements. His ingenuity set him to work on making sticks of varying lengths to use for measuring in the future. Eventually, when his eyesight began to fail, he used his sticks in making his measurements, and this has allowed him to makes furniture to this day. MacKinnon has outlived two wives, but has two sons and many grandchildren. In their youth, his sons developed the same talent as their father, refining their woodworking skills. It is a wonderful thing to think that history lives on in those who were taught the old ways. Thanks to the life experiences of people like Gordon MacKinnon, we can discover and appreciate the wisdom that comes with age. Happy 100 th birthday Gordon MacKinnon! Linda LeRoux is a medical assistant practicing in Berkshire County. Earth Angels Box Office February, 2006 Elder Services' Berkshire Senior Page 5 American Healthy Heart Month React in time to heart attack signs quiz See if you know what to do if a heart attack happens. Take this / quiz. 1. Discomfort or a heavy feeling in the chest can signal a heart attack. - Chest pain is the most commonly reported heart attack symptom. But the pain may not feel severe or stabbing. It may feel more like a discomfort. Chest discomfort may be accompanied by or follow shortness of breath. Discomfort or pain may also be felt in other areas of the upper body, such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Other symptoms that can occur include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness. 2. Women do not frequently experience heart attacks. - heart disease is the number one killer of American women, and nearly half of all heart attack deaths each year happen to women. Furthermore, women are less likely to survive a heart attack than are men. 3. African-American women die of heart attacks at the same rate as white women. - African-American women s death rates from heart attacks are a third higher than the rates for white women. In general, women and minorities delay longer before calling for help. African- American women also are at greater risk for hypertension and diabetes, which are both risk factors for heart disease. 4. Some people who are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack often wait hours or even days before seeking needed medical care. - Many people do not recognize their symptoms as lifethreatening. That s why it is important to know the warning signs and take action quickly. 5. Being treated within about an hour of the fi rst symptoms can make a signifi cant difference. - Heart attack deaths and heart damage can often be avoided when treatment begins within an hour of when the Caregiving Questions? Call Elder Services or symptoms started. Most studies show a large reduction in death rates and in heart damage in patients treated within 1 hour of the start of sym
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